I discovered two extraordinary articles this week. They discuss artificial intelligence (AI) in-depth and in ways you’ve never thought about. They’re simply fantastic, and they’re must reading for the modern, AI tech-savvy reader.
- Medium – “Artificial Intelligence — The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet,” by Dr. Michael Jordan, UC Berkeley.
- Smithsonian – “What Will Our Society Look Like When Artificial Intelligence Is Everywhere?” by Stephan Talty.
Dr. Jordan is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the Department of Statistics at UC Berkeley. His opening paragraph sets the stage.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the mantra of the current era. The phrase is intoned by technologists, academicians, journalists and venture capitalists alike. As with many phrases that cross over from technical academic fields into general circulation, there is significant misunderstanding accompanying the use of the phrase. But this is not the classical case of the public not understanding the scientists — here the scientists are often as befuddled as the public.
Immediately, he tells an interesting story about his wife’s pregnancy, statistics, and a life or death decision with machines. But this personal preamble is simply a gateway into a discussion of the various levels of machine intelligence. Is it software that can learn a human’s needs and habits? Is it like IBM’s Watson that can digest vast volumes of literature and draw new inferences? Is it software that merely augments our own intelligence? Is it a HAL-9000 device that can merely pass the Turning test? And kill? Or is it a full-fledged human-like intelligence that has every capability of the human mind and then goes beyond that?
This article is a very complete and well-thought-out discussion and worth your time.
The Consequences of Artificial Intelligence
The second essay, from the Smithsonian Magazine, explores the social consequences of very advanced AI entities. In a virtual SciFi epic panorama, the article imagines what it will be like when each of us has a superior, human-like, all-knowing AI at our disposal.
Your AI helps with every aspect of your life. It remembers every conversation you ever had, every invention you ever sketched on a napkin, every business meeting you ever attended. It’s also familiar with millions of other people’s inventions—it has scanned patent filings going back hundreds of years—and it has read every business book written since Ben Franklin’s time. When you bring up a new idea for your business, your AI instantly cross-references it with ideas that were introduced at a conference in Singapore or Dubai just minutes ago. It’s like having a team of geniuses—Einstein for physics, Steve Jobs for business—at your beck and call.
There are many more of these possible scenarios, ranging from modern partner-finding, health and longevity, and AI-assisted governments making decisions that are good for the citizens, not the law-makers. Or maybe not.
Privacy died around 2060. It’s impossible to tell what is true and what isn’t. When the government owns the AI, it can hack into every part of your existence. The calls you receive could be your Aunt Jackie phoning to chat about the weather or a state bot wanting to plumb your true thoughts about the Great Leader.
Together, these two articles create a detailed understanding of AI principles, terminology, future capabilities and the social consequences. Imagine….
No, she’s not right for you. I’ve connected with her AI, and you each have vastly different values. If you mate with her, her AI and I will punish you. Move on.
Where we go with AI, once it matures, will quite likely be out of our control. This is called The Singularity. There is, right now, no known social mechanism to control it. Humans may not be smart enough.
Next Page: The News Debris for the week of April 16th. A personal Facebook AI?